Relay for Life Lawrence County has become a special event for me, I had never realized how many people I love have been affected by cancer until this event last year, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I will be back to Relay as long as they will have me with my photobooth that gives others the chance to honor the people or causes that they relay for. View the entire album by click on the image below.
 
 
I think you're only allowed to have one "favorite" of something, right? I feel like every time I do something, it's my "favorite".  Aqua. Trick-or-Treat. Trashion/ReFashion. Visiting BNL. Weddings. Maybe I just have too much fun. Whatever. It's not a bad problem to have.

This is the fifth summer for my Aqua Series, and we had four photographers and three models on location right in the middle of Bedford shooting from 3pm-11. Finding other like-minded photographers to work with like the guys I worked with yesterday has been a wonderful experience for me;  I am more than thrilled to have their work hang with mine at the Exposure Arts Gallery Show in July. The rain held off for us, it didn't start until I was driving home. The thunderstorm that followed was amazing, I stood out on the porch for several minutes just to watch the magnificent lightning. 

Keragan Sego came back to the pool to amaze us with her ability to not need air. Ever. For her we had an all black underwater garment from satin materials, mesh, and feathers, and while all of the models rotated outfits and looks with our rotating photographer system, this is what I shot her in most, and I intended the bright lime green and white garment for Caroline Nauth. We invited Caroline down from Indianapolis, a model I've met through Jealousy Jane Couture runway events. Having been into ballet and dance nearly her entire life, she did beautifully with us underwater. Leaving me with all sorts of image treasures was Tori Simpson. I did peek at some of the shots Stephen Roberts took of her and they were gorgeous. I am so fortunate to be able to work with so many talented, fun people that like to stay focused and work together, and our Aqua team is a pretty smooth system. I'm proud of us, anyways. 

Something new this year, I had the pleasure of working next to my mom Terri in making two new costumes specifically for this shoot. I provided the materials, we talked it out, I started pinning, she told me I was putting the pins in the wrong direction so I started over so they wouldn't snag her sewing machine. That was one of the first things I learned about sewing with this project. She handled the machine while I did the pinning and details like ribbon, beads and mesh. I spend a lot of time with my mom-we don't live very far from each other and my kids love spending time there-but this was a different kind of hanging out, and I hope we do it again soon. My daughter stayed with us and stitched up a few of her own stuffed animals and one that belongs to my older brother that must be more than 30 years old now. She did a really great job, and I'd have to say so did my mom and I. Our garments held up well with the tugging and twisting that happens on set. Way to go, us!

Also, I might have a new thing for pointe shoes underwater.

Over the next few weeks, I'll choose my favorites and get them ready for our show. Until then, all four of us promised we'd save our "fancy images" from this session for until after the gallery exhibit. Since you came to my blog, I'll add another image on here just as an extra sneak into what's to come. Keep in mind I'm being stingy with my favorites and keeping them offline until after the show.  I don't seem to be grasping the idea of "favorite".

The other photographers that were shooting with me were James Minshall of Minshall Photography in Bedford, Stephen Roberts of Roberts Fine Art Motion, and Kyla Greene from KG Photography in Loogootee Indiana. Each of us will have images presented at our exhibit, July 26th, 5-8pm at The Wiley Center for Art, home for the Lawrence County Art Association. I want you all to come and enjoy the show we're putting on for our community, so don't forget!  
 
 
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http://thenewblackphoto.com/This is one of my most favorite events. While personally I've not been one to collect furniture with distressed paint or to dress up in lace and frills, I absolutely love diving into the vintage vibe for this one event. This year was incredible-so incredible I cried because it was so perfect. I just cannot express how amazing everyone on the SNS '13 team was with pulling the details together-Rust and Roses Vintagewares will be reopening in Bedford this fall and our settings for this party were just a taste of what her shop will be like (if you remember, it was on 17th and I street last year). The chandeliers, "poof" balls, wicker chairs, floral cushions, mannequins and vintage dresses are all tiny pieces that make up the Rust and Roses personality and even further, seems meant to be paired up with my Sugar and Spice event.

Center Stage TuTu's again provided rompers, TuTu's and sets for the girls to model and play in-the deep blue romper was my absolute favorite. Someone please buy that romper and let your little girl wear it everyday. The tops that matched the TuTu's are handmade creations from Beth Melvin, who was at the event in person helping the girls with the dress up clothes. Beth also made the tiara's that just about every little girl wore the whole time, she and Tori (GRR's new intern!) had too much fun glittering them up on my backporch a few days before the event. Becca Atwood hand-painted our storybook, and made up adventures with the girls under the illuminated tent at the end of the night, something I was especially excited for. I thought that winding down with a story under the stars would be a perfect way to end our event, and I was not disappointed. Our white tent twinkled in the dark, and no doubt folks all around Oolitic were wondering what sort of awesome party was going on at my house that evening.

We had beautiful cupcakes from Let Them Eat Cupcakes, make-up from Dalicia Cunningham and even our own hair stylist Lisa Sego. While I took photos on set, Sam Johnson took our candid photos as she's branching off into Indianapolis with her photography brand, The New Black.  We even had a whole kitchen system of friends that kept our trays and cups clean and pretty with fresh fruits and drinks that our server presented to each girl! The wonderful thing about having wonderful people help for something as important as this is that I had the pleasure of coming into my home when the night had ended to find my kitchen clean and in complete order. I'm pretty sure I cried again because I was so touched by this kindness. Gosh, my friends are absolutely wonderful. All of them. Thank you all for your part in this event.

Okay, I'm sure you came here to see some photos, so here they are! Most of these photos were taken by Sam Johnson, but I sprinkled a few from the GRR photobooth! There is one sweet little boy in here, he has been so excited for Sugar and Spice since I started selling the tickets back in March. I think everyone enjoyed his company, and even when he became a little upset when he didn't win the Kiss the Frog Prince game he was still just absolutely adorable. He also started to get upset when I took the group picture without him, so there are a few with him in there next to his sister. I'm not complaining, they're only little once!

If you attended this event, you are more than welcome to contact me with any questions regarding this event and your photos. I have a disk for each of the attendees of all of the pictures Sam took during the event, and if you're in the Indianapolis/Bedford areas, give her a call! She's available for photo sessions and weddings and she does a great job-which may or may not be because she's spent two years with GRR! www.thenewblackphoto.com

View all of the Sugar and Spice photobooth images here!

 
 
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Last night I went out with a few friends for a Dark Party, it was a great night to play with the cloudy sunset, fishermen with their lanterns, light painting, and of course, the Super Moon. I have always claimed to have the inability to photograph anything without a person in it and that's still true.  My friends were taking incredible shots of the Super Moon while I took a few long exposures of the lake, mixing it up by playing with my red and blue gels in front of the lens while I shot, which turned out pretty cool. Then I became fascinated with the silhouettes of the men lifting and throwing nets glittering with dripping water into the lake over and over. They gave me verbal permission to photograph, and just like that, I was done photographing anything without a person in it. So, my favorite images are the ones that had an exposure of 6 seconds, and the men are sitting and waiting, also the one when I asked the fisherman to hold the net as still as he could for me, I think that shot was less than 1 second. When we moved on to light painting, I had the opportunity to show off my self-proclaimed mastery of writing backwards with a flashlight. We worked with tripods, our 70D's, gels, flashlights, and speedlights. I was really looking forward to playing with my awesome sparklers (if you remember them from the JJC NYE editorial) only to find out they were too damp to ignite. I'm sure I'll have no problem finding more, especially this time of year. Not to imply we didn't have sparks to fly during our session last night, but I also learned we're not allowed to have fireworks at the beach, and it closes at 11.

Last night was fun, and my friends and I have been having a lot of fun lately with Dark Parties and Aqua Sessions. If you want original photo ideas, you should ask us about it, we'd love to book more for our clients as we invent more and more ways to have fun with our cameras and equipment. In just a few days, I'll be shooting underwater alongside James Minshall and Kyla Greene for the upcoming gallery exhibit in July. We'll be doing both day and night shooting with our fish from last year Keragan and with Indianapolis-based ballerina Caroline Nauth at a private location in Bloomington Indiana, and I cannot wait to see what we are able to do together this year. James and I warmed up to Aqua shooting not long ago with local friend Mercedes, and then again a few days ago at his daughter's Poolside Book Club (the hottest club in Bedford!). He's excited to try out some new shooting techniques, and I'm excited to work with the bright colors I picked out-not to mention this means I get to have a sewing day with my mom tomorrow to bring the Aqua costumes together, how special is that?

Enjoy some of these playful photographs from the last few days of my life, some are from the Dark Party, some are from the Poolside Book Club, and then the others are from a cook out at my mom's house where I gave my mom and sister a crash course in how to use aperture, f/stop, and ISO. They picked up on it pretty quickly! These are just concept shots, if you're one of my Exposure Arts students, see if you can figure out why these settings work the way they do, even when I accidentally changed my ISO by fumbling around in the dark. There are many different ways to get a correct exposure, I think a Dark Party should happen this summer, what do you think!?

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Kids are excellent Aqua models. They never tire!
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Underwater picture of my son grinning.
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We asked my son to open his eyes for this picture.
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My mom, daughter, and sister.
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ISO 100 F/4.0 6 sec
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ISO 160 F/4.0 15 sec, blue gel
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ISO 400 F/4.0 10 sec, red gel
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ISO 3200 F/4.0 .06 seconds. In the darkness, I changed my settings without intending to. Seemed to work out for me.
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ISO 3200 f/4.0 1/4 sec
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ISO 100 f/3.5 15 sec
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ISO 100 f/5.6 6 sec, and my favorite of the fishermen.
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ISO 100 f/3.5 15 sec
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ISO 100 f/6.3 10 sec
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ISO 100 f/6.3 30 sec
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ISO 100 f/6.3 10 sec
 
 
 
 
Hold on to your seats, it's going to be a fast three years.

It was made public today that Bedford has won one of the two Stellar Grants, funding an intense downtown area renovation plan to be completed within a three year timeline, which is loaded with ideas and changes that are going to brighten up our downtown. Our local news reports on the official information in this link.

Many wonderful things will come to our town because of this new Stellar status, of course my favorite parts are the plans to support more arts and events in our downtown, including opening the old convention center/JC Penny's building as an art facility and ideas for public art.  Art may not be for everyone and since I'm always talking about supporting the arts in our community and youth,  I'd say I've met a few of those people but it doesn't change the fact that in my life, I am surrounded by creative and motivated people. Lots of them. And they live right here in Lawrence County. Imagine not only being able to welcome art classes and facilities, but what about also having gallery walks in Bedford like the one Tori and I just went on last week in Bloomington? Why couldn't we ask businesses in Bedford to open their doors on the Fourth Friday of each month and sponsor an artist, adult or student? The Wiley Center is just one block north of the square and opens a new exhibit every fourth Friday, downtown businesses would benefit from the traffic, and businesses that weren't downtown could set up booths. Outdoor concerts. Performance Art. Once a month. Free. All ages. My kids would be thrilled, that's for sure.

For me, finding a way to celebrate and share great artistic work has been my life's passion. Expression, individuality, accountability, deadlines, critiques, critical thinking, performance, dedication...these things continue to shape my life, and photography and events are my avenues but I'm not alone. We have painters. Sculptures. Metalsmiths. Performers. Writers. Directors. Designers. We all live here, and whether we're professional or not, we want opportunities and experiences. The ones that will make a career from it will want critiques and lessons, deadlines, and standards. I used to volunteer at the Limestone Girl's Club for an art class. There were several girls that loved that class, I could only imagine what they would be able to do if they had real teachers and classes. And then galleries and gallery walks to anticipate and work towards. Accountability. Skill. Confidence. Productivity.

Over the years I've met many high school students who are talented, some who need more practice, and plenty that have great ideas and motivation. I put it out there that I want to support the high school photography students, and I've already met with five different students since school has been out for critiques. Our high school stained glass students are incredibly talented. We should share that. Photography. Dance. Choirs. Our wonderful orchestras-I played the violin myself from 5th grade all throughout high school. Making my violin sing was a beautiful way to begin each school day, many of those friendships I've made have lasted.  Tori told me that Kat's Performing Arts Studio sold out the PAC at BNL. Sold out. Dedication. Thrilling. Rewarding. Fitness.

I am absolutely thrilled with this news, and I am even more thankful that I have met and made friends with so many wonderful people in my life that share several things in common with me, like James Minshall and all of the awesome people I've met through him. I'm also thankful for the many other friends that I have made the last handful of years through the art association, Chamber of Commerce, having my photography studio on the square, the Limestone Girl's Club, and the BNL art department. I have learned so much from all of you. I can't wait to do whatever I can to make this community even more stellar with all of you.

Wow. I am so excited about this...
 
 
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My husband and I are all finished having babies (we're pretty sure, anyways!), so I love being able to spend a little bit of time with one of my best friend's daughter, Hattie. Such a sweet baby, and while working on this session I thought she looked like a good mix of her older brother and her daddy, but to see her in real life, I think she looks like her pretty Mommy. Either way, she's a bundle with blonde hair and blue eyes, and a mini heartbreaker if you ask me!

Thank you, Lauren and Chris for letting me share these beautiful pictures of your little angel!

 
 
Bo Taritas is a beautiful woman I had the honor of working with May 31st. She is a woman with many hats, one of which includes figure modeling for numerous classes. The pieces we were able to capture are absolutely stunning, and we want you to come see for yourself in July, so mark off your calendar!

My project featuring Bo will be one of many that will be hanging in the Wiley Center for Art. Other projects will include my newest
 
 
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Happy Summer to all of my talented friends from the BNL Art Department! Welcome to the first Exposure Arts post! I'll be making a new blog post every Thursday this summer to keep the young artists in my community pulled together and productive, the goal is to see gallery worthy work from each of the participating students and display them alongside my work at the Wiley Center for Art on July 26th. I couldn't be more excited for this show or for this summer, and I've already met with one student for a sit-down critique at Stonecutters this week, and I have two others next week. Email me to set up your own tea and critique!

Our very first Exposure Arts meet up will be tomorrow evening, there is a gallery walk in downtown Bloomington, 5-8pm. I'd like to leave Oolitic about 6pm from the Antique Mall on Main Street, if anyone would like to go with us please let me know. It is the ten year anniversary of the Gallery Walk, and will feature multiple galleries with fresh new art, live music, and food, so bring a few bucks and your inquisitive minds, and let's get our summer started!

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A few weekends ago, I took my two children to Bloomington's downtown area to walk around, enjoy the day and all of the wonderful public art. We parked at the Chocolate Moose, grabbed some ice cream, and found a fun little place to sit while we ate and we talked about our route. My kids, ages 9 and 4, spent 5 hours walking the streets of Bloomington, climbing, running, racing, asking questions, noticing details and even then still had enough energy to play hard on a playground and open stage to an empty grassy audience. You may or may not know, but Bedford is a candidate for one of two Stellar Grants, which would completely renovate our Bedford downtown including making room for walking/biking trails and public art among many MANY other wonderful things. The judges have told our local government that we'd have an answer by mid-June, so cross your fingers, hold your breath, whatever it is you want to do-our town would just BLOSSOM, I know because I know what they plan to do and it makes me so hopeful for the youth in our town. I grew up here, and I wasn't the only one bored out of my mind and wishfully dreaming of moving away to somewhere more exciting, somewhere where I could have 'permission' to do the quirky artistic things that I so much love to do. So while you read on, enjoy the images from my day with my awesome kids, and try to visualize what we could do in our own community to support our own local artists and history.

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Now that I'm 30, reaching out to the artistic teenagers and youth in my community has become so important to me. I do not claim to be any supreme word or advisor, I only have my opinions and experiences to share, and a passion to encourage and support young minds. The last time I was at the high school, I paired up with a few photo students and gave one-on-one critiques. I gave my honest opinion on dodging and burning, using DOF, cropping and mounting, and I was being a little turd about bad craft (mounting tissue peeking out from behind your print, dinged up corners on your mounting boards, water or fixer spots). I asked several of the students if they knew what they were doing with their settings or if they were just guessing (which is what I used to do a lot of when I was that age!) and then I tried to give them a little insight to using your aperture to create DOF, or how dodging the dark corners will balance the entire prints, and I tried to talk to them about why they should care about dinged corners or peek-a-boo mounting tissue. I worried slightly that I was too harsh, too honest, but the gratitude I got from each student I spent time with encouraged me to continue to be honest. These kids could handle it. I've had friends in college and adult artists not be able to handle a critique constructively, and while I kept it inside the day I was out there, I was BEAMING with pride.

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Inside, I was beaming with pride as I watched the students study their own works with critical eyes, and then walk away seemingly motivated and armed with some sort of fresh insight. Errin, thank you SO MUCH for allowing me to come to your classroom, my former home away from home, and spend time with these wonderful kids.  I love it so much, I want to spend the summer with them too!

Aside from the Gallery Walk tomorrow evening, I will be looking for 3-4 students who would like to join me for the annual Relay for Life Lawrence County walk next Friday, June 14th from 5pm-11pm. I'd love to have help setting up my event tent, the set inside, and we photograph families, groups and  individuals all evening long and encourage them to share their stories.

Last year was my first year at Relay, and I was so surprised how big of an impact this event had on me. I had tears all night, either from sharing grief or joy-this is TRULY an amazing event, and after the experience I had last year, I want to participate every year they'll have me. Last year, Sam and Becca stayed with me the entire time, and this year, I'd like to invite some new students to share this experience. If you are interested in this and can be available, just email me. I'd love to meet with you before the event!

Just to start more chatter about the big Exposure Arts show at the Wiley Center for Art on July 26th, 5pm, I'll just throw it out there that the new work for this show has been incredible, and sitting on such great work will pay off at the opening! I believe it's important to keep this work off of the internet until after it goes up in the gallery, first of all the experience as a viewer would be robbed, these pieces are meant for print and display as we are using some fresh technology to mix media, so bring your iPhones and tablets to our opening! Each of my projects will hang cleanly on the gallery walls and be accompanied by a write up, including mentions of my camera settings and materials used. This is standard in most universities, established galleries and museums, and I want to inspire good habits so I'll expect these things from anyone I invite to display in this show.


In about two weeks, I'll be shooting underwater for this show. I cannot invite any students to this particular shoot, but we started chatter about renting the Bedford Pool from the Parks Department for a few hours one Friday this summer, I think the cost is around $200. Would anyone want to pitch in to rent the pool for Exposure Arts? I would happily share my universal underwater camera bag and some of my favorite tips and tricks of the trade. This will be my fifth year shooting underwater, and I'd like to think I've figured a FEW things out, although there is plenty more to learn!  More to come next week, I'll see you tomorrow!
 
 
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This is my handsome Papaw Phillips, David Eugene. He passed away in the summer of 2003 and our family has been sharing this image online today on this Memorial Day.

I just realized it'll be ten years in just a few short weeks.

I also want to quote my client and friend JR Davenport this morning. I have such an admiration for the Davenport family, I hope we are friends for the rest of our lives. I feel the same way about Jesse and Tara Crane. Wonderful parents, wonderful examples, beautiful people. I'm thinking of you and your brother today Tara. I feel like JR said it very well: "Never forget why we celebrate Memorial Day, it isn't for the extra day off, the cookouts, or the booze, it's to remember all that came before us and gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy so much. Enjoy the time with your families today; parents, remind your kids what today is about so they can pass it on. Every one be safe and enjoy and reflect today. RIP Lcpl James Ray Davenport 12/31/1985-11/22/2006..."

My family is going for a hike, we always enjoy being with each other out on the trails, it's what we had planned for Mother's Day but our son had a fever. Whatever it is you're doing today, keep the real reason behind Memorial Day in your hearts.

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Welcoming JR home after multiple tours in Iraq, 2013
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Jesse and Tara Crane on their wedding day, 2010